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Sherlock is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes detective stories.


Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Doctor John Watson. Nine episodes have been produced, the first three of which aired in 2010. Series two aired in 2012, and a third series aired in January 2014. The show's executive producer, Steven Moffat, has announced that a fourth series has been commissioned, with scripts being planned. The series has been sold to over 200 territories.

The show was conceived by Moffat and Gatiss during train journeys to and from the Doctor Who production base in Cardiff, where they were both writers. They aspired to produce a modern-day version of Conan Doyle's stories in which Holmes uses the technologies that are available to him today in order to help him solve crimes. Credited as co-creators, Moffat and Gatiss each write one episode per series, with the other written by Stephen Thompson. Hartswood Films produced the series for the BBC and co-produced it with WGBH Boston for its Masterpiece anthology series. The series is primarily filmed in Cardiff, although the production also uses a variety of other locations. North Gower Street in London was used for exterior shots of Holmes and Watson's 221B Baker Street residence.

Sherlock depicts "consulting detective" Holmes, assisting the Metropolitan Police Service, primarily Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves), in solving various crimes. Holmes is assisted by his flatmate, Dr John Watson, who has returned from military service in Afghanistan. Although the series depicts a variety of crimes and perpetrators, Holmes' conflict with his archnemesis Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) is a recurring feature. Pathologist Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) assists Holmes in her laboratory. Other recurring roles include Una Stubbs as Mrs Hudson, Holmes and Watson's landlady; and co-creator Mark Gatiss as Sherlock's brother, Mycroft Holmes.

After an unaired pilot in 2009, the first series of three 90-minute episodes was transmitted on BBC One and BBC HD in 2010, with a second series of three episodes first broadcast in 2012. Critical reception was extremely positive, with many reviews commending the quality of the writing, performances and direction. Sherlock has been nominated for numerous awards, including Baftas and Emmys, winning several across a variety of categories. The first two series have been released on DVD and Blu-ray, alongside tie-in editions of some of Conan Doyle's original books. Soundtrack albums from series one and two have also been released.

Moffat and Vertue became interested in casting Cumberbatch as the title character after watching his performance in the 2007 drama/war film Atonement. The actor was cast after reading the script for the creative team. "Cumberbatch", says The Guardian, "has a reputation for playing odd, brilliant men very well, and his Holmes is cold, techie, slightly Aspergerish".

Cumberbatch said, "There's a great charge you get from playing him, because of the volume of words in your head and the speed of thought—you really have to make your connections incredibly fast. He is one step ahead of the audience, and of anyone around him with normal intellect. They can't quite fathom where his leaps are taking him." Piers Wenger, Head of Drama at BBC Wales, described the series' rendering of Sherlock as "a dynamic superhero in a modern world, an arrogant, genius sleuth driven by a desire to prove himself cleverer than the perpetrator and the police—everyone in fact". Addressing changing social attitudes and broadcasting regulations, Cumberbatch's Holmes replaced the pipe with multiple nicotine patches. The writers believed that Sherlock should not talk like "a completely modern person", says Moffat, but were initially intent that "he never sounded like he's giving a lecture". However, Moffat turned the character "more Victorian" in the second series, capitalising more on Cumberbatch's "beautiful voice" to make it sound like "he's giving a lecture".

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